Visiting Speakers

Charles W. Mills (Northwestern)

Friday, Mar. 26, 2010, 4:00 p.m., 128 Dale Hall. Everyone is welcome!

De-Racializing Rawls

Depending on the audience, my title will seem to beg the question in one of two sharply different ways. For a mainstream philosophy crowd, the idea that Rawls, who hardly talks about race, could be "racialized" will seem baffling. Whence, then, any need to de-racialize? On the other hand, for a critical race theory crowd, whether philosophical or non-philosophical, it will be virtually axiomatic that Rawls (and mainstream liberalism in general) is racialized, and the puzzlement will arise over the tacit assumption that anything of interest or value would be left after de-racialization. In this paper, I hope to show that both of these reactions are wrong (they certainly could not both be right). Rawls (and Rawlsianism) is indeed racialized, but de-racializing Rawls can nonetheless be a useful normative strategy for tackling issues of racial justice.